Friday, February 11th

The hotel’s breakfast buffet had all the standard fare but, even so, was nothing special.  After a quick bite, we checked out of the hotel, drove across the river and through myriad streets with limited signage…..finally finding a parking space which, most fortuitously, was across the street from the starting point of our walking tour.  

We began our tour of Tavira under a stone archway….the only remaining piece of the 16th century wall that protected the town. 

Up a sloped, cobblestone stairway……

Up to the Church of Misericordia (Church of Mercy) built in 1541……

Up to the gates of the castle garden…..

the castle was destoyed by an earthquake in 1755 but one tower and a few walls remain to enclose a lush public garden……

where you have incredible views of the “treasury roofs” of the houses below….. these pyramid roofs cover each room of a house……perhaps an Asian feature inspired by long-ago explorers.

Over to the Church of Santa Maria with its clock tower.

And then, down flights of cobblestone steps to the riverside park and its views of the riverfront…..

and the fishermen going out to sea……

A sandbar island protects the town from the Atlantic, but the island is only accessible by boat so we left town and started our westward drive along the coast unsure of our destination.

We had hoped the road would skirt the coast but it went through inland towns that were somewhat the worse for wear…..none of them inviting enough to warrant a stop.  Small roads led off to the southern beaches but we passed them by in hopes of finding a charming little town right on the ocean for tonight’s rest.  We drove through Faro (congested, no charm), Albufeira (high on a bluff with narrow, winding streets), Lagoa (too modern, too far from the beach), Portimao (a mini Miami Beach….pastel high-rises as far as the eye could see). 

Southern Portugal was quickly losing its allure……condos and golf courses were now lining the road.  We could only imagine its nightmarish traffic during the hot days of summer.  But then, we drove into Lagos……

with welcoming roundabouts, no traffic even on this late afternoon, and some condos….but none higher than four stories.  This was a town that held some promise.  We followed the signs to the marina and found a 4-star hotel with a studio apartment available for the night….at the winter-time price of 75 euros….including breakfast.  It wasn’t on the beach but it bordered the marina so we checked in and went up to the room. 

The room had a large terrace overlooking sailboats in the harbor, a restaurant, a bar and a laundromat (after a week on the road, this was becoming increasingly important).  We quickly called the front desk and told them we’d stay two nights….then opened a bottle of Vinho Verde.  

It was a gloriously warm afternoon so we left touring for tomorrow and sat on the terrace, sipping our wine and watching the masts of the boats sway in the gentle wind.  

As we finished the wine, the winds kicked up and the skies darkened…..a storm was brewing.  We dined nearby at the hotel’s restaurant….a quick walk to the other side of the grounds just past the swimming pool.   Service was attentive….there was only one other couple in the restaurant.  With candlelight and American standards by Frank Sinatra and Rosemary Clooney softly playing in the background….it was an enjoyable, if not memorable, meal.  

The storm was now clearly on its way as we walked back under soft raindrops.  It unleased its fury after we were safely indoors.  With the drumroll of thunder, we opened the curtains wide to watch the electrified nightsky.  

This time, with thanks to Lou Christie…….                                                                                Lightning’s striking again                                                                                                             And again…And again…And again

About Languedoc Lady

I'm a newly retired woman from California getting ready to spend a year (or more) with my husband living the good life in Languedoc in the southwest of France.
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